Fall from water tank ends painter’s career

Grant Prior 10 years ago

A decorator will never work again after shattering his leg after falling nearly four metres while painting the top of a water storage tank.

The 58 year-old victim, from north-west Hull, will never be able to go back to his lifetime trade or any other construction-related work following the incident on November 29 last year.

He and a colleague, both employees of Mawe Staff & Co Ltd, were asked by managing director Colin Mawe to paint seven storage tanks at Humber Growers’ Beckside Nursery in Ellerker, East Yorkshire.

While painting the crown of one of them, he lost his balance as he walked along the curved top surface and fell onto the concrete floor slabs below.

The worker suffered multiple fractures to his left leg and broke his right heel.

He has had two operations to pin and re-build the bones in his leg and was confined to a wheelchair for several weeks. He now has to rely on crutches and is still receiving physiotherapy.

Beverley Magistrates heard the HSE brought the prosecution against Colin Mawe after finding there was no protection in place along the sides of the tanks to prevent a fall.

The court was told Mawe had provided inadequate access equipment for the job and had instructed the two men to use it.

He had then seen both his employees working in a clearly unsafe manner, but had failed to take any steps to put effective safety measures in place to prevent them from falling.

Mawe, of Welton, pleaded guilty to safety breaches and was fined £2,500 and ordered to pay £1,800 in costs.

After the hearing, HSE Inspector David Bradley said: “This was a serious incident in which a worker sustained life-changing injuries. However the height from which this worker fell had the very real potential to cause fatal injuries.

“The controls needed to avert this incident were simple to achieve, and the risks to people walking along the top of a curved tank should have been evident to anyone controlling the work.

“It is therefore disappointing that Mr Mawe saw people working in this manner yet failed to introduce simple controls to eliminate these risks.”


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